In an op ed in “Urban Milwaukee,” Casey Hoff, a criminal defense attorney in Sheboygan, added new information about the economic and social costs of more prisons. Here is an excerpt.
“Well more than half of the states in this country have passed legislation to cut back on mandatory minimum sentences.
States that have implemented these policies for the longest periods of time, such as New York, New Jersey and California, have many years of evidence to show reducing prison populations and closing prisons has not caused spikes in crime nor has doing so had a negative effect on public safety.
Starting in the late 1990s or mid-2000s, these three states reduced their prison populations by approximately 25 percent. During that time, violent crime rates were going down nationally. However, violent crime rates decreased at greater rates in New York, New Jersey and California than the nationwide average.
Between 1999 and 2012, when New York and New Jersey reduced their prison populations by 26 percent, the national prison population increased by 10 percent.
…Look to our neighbors in Minnesota. The populations of Minnesota and Wisconsin are roughly equal. Both states have similar crime rates. However, Wisconsin has more than double the prison population of Minnesota.”
Click here to read the op ed.